B2B SEO

The Complete B2B SEO Strategy Guide for Growth in 2022

We're giving away all of our SEO secrets in this guide to building a B2B SEO strategy that'll get you ranking.
The Complete B2B SEO Strategy Guide for Growth in 2022
Ray Slater Berry
by Ray Slater Berry

Business-to-business search engine optimization creates business-orientated content your potential customers are looking for, giving it the best opportunity possible to rank in the top spot on Google.

Why bother?

SEO is one of the best content strategies for business ROI, lead generation, and demand generation. What’s more, Google dominates over 90% of the market for search engines. To be frank, if you’re not on Google, you don’t exist.

This article will outline eight steps you need to follow to put together a high-ranking B2B SEO strategy so that you can stay on top of mind for customers, on top of goals for your department, and on top of search engines for your business.

Let’s get to ranking. 🥇

What is B2B SEO?

B2B SEO covers three core areas: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. These pillars come together in a complete B2B SEO strategy and help your content rank on leading search engines.

Successful factors that make up a leading B2B SEO strategy include:

On-page: meta optimizations, on-page auditing, content production & keyword research

Off-page: link-building, social media, & digital PR

Technical SEO: indexability, crawlability, user experience, page load speed, images, alt-text, schema markup, site architecture. 

B2C vs. B2B SEO: what’s the difference?

B2B SEO is often perceived as trickier to navigate than B2C SEO. B2C SEO needs only target one person, the consumer. However, B2B SEO will need to target multiple people to make the same sale: all decision-makers within a business’s team.

Therefore, when it comes to B2B SEO, the target audience is exactly that—an entire audience, not a single person. So, your B2B SEO will often have to appeal to multiple searchers, personas, and roles to win a sale at the end of it all.

With this on the table, let’s get into the steps you’ll need to take to build a top-performing B2B SEO strategy.

8 Steps to build a high-performing B2B SEO strategy

It’s worth mentioning that these steps are steps we implement here at Skale to build SEO strategies for our B2B clients. They’re an accumulation of team knowledge to help ensure your own B2B SEO strategy is on the right path. Admittedly, we went back and forth between each other; are we giving away too much? The writer won the fight. You’re welcome.

1. Run impact-focused technical audits

The first step in creating your B2B SEO strategy is to undertake an intensive technical audit and deliver a technical roadmap prioritized by impact, confidence, and ease (ICE). 

At Skale, we typically work with the client’s dev team, and action high-priority items that ensure the website is fast, responsive, crawlable, and technically sound. You won’t get far with search engines if you don’t start with a technical SEO audit.

No client wants to receive a 40-page B2B SEO audit with zero strategic direction, so we prefer to keep things concise and actionable to generate impact fast.

To start with a leg to stand on and win organic traffic, Skale uses a mix of knowledge, experience, and some SaaSy SEO tools to provide an actionable audit that clients can use.

SEO Tools to outrank the competition

2. Conduct competitor research

Next up, you’ll want to run your B2B SEO competitor research. There is often a big difference between a client’s perceived competitors and their organic competitors. You’ll be able to see this in search engine results when you conduct keyword research.

At Skale, we take the time to identify these real competitors and reverse engineer the search engine optimization strategy they have used to rank in valuable SERPs. Often we can take these learnings, improve upon them and integrate them into our clients’ long-term B2B SEO strategy.

Learnings from this can positively contribute towards:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Content marketing efforts
  • Link building
  • Topical Authority

The list goes on!

Run a SaaS SEO competitor analysis

3. Invest in user research

People don’t often associate user research as part of their B2B SEO strategy. However, it needs to be in there, and here’s why. You can get so much quantitative and qualitative data from conducting user research that will drastically affect your entire search engine optimization strategy. It will help you place smart bets and uncover things that typical SEO research can’t.

A few ways to tap into this target audience research are:

  • Interview your sales team to better understand key switch points and common issues users face daily. These topics feed directly into the long-term content strategy, including your topics and long-tail keywords.
  • Analyze CRM contact data to identify the personas that are most frequently converting and becoming customers. Here, you’re essentially building SEO personas. This will help you segment your strategy and identify content pillars.
  • Scrape review sites such as G2 and Capterra to pull job titles and industries of current users to define ICP buckets. You can also run bi/tri-gram analysis to capture key phrases and user sentiment, which can be used for benefit-driven copy. In other words, understand the language your target audience is using around their pain points and your product and adopt your product messaging accordingly.

At Skale, we use all this data to map out micro-content strategies for each user persona, ensure we hit every touchpoint in the funnel, and turn the clients’ website into a ‘search engine’ for our ICPs.

This is so critical in a B2B SEO strategy. You not only want to win a high search volume in organic traffic from the search engine results page, but you want to retain that volume of users on your web pages.

4. Look at a behavior analysis

Next up, it’s time to dive into users’ behaviors.

“At Skale, we track key actions on the website, such as CTA clicks, scroll depth, and user behavior flow, to understand how users interact with the site. We also analyze the customer journey to understand which pages users interact with en route from first touch to conversion.”Ben Major, Head of Tech & Content SEO

Often Skale finds that actual behavior is extremely different from assumed behavior. With this valuable information, we can build hypotheses and develop CRO tests to direct the user to the next logical step in their journey—this isn’t always the demo page!

Honestly, this is where many SEO strategies go wrong. They’re so determined to drive every high-ranking blog post through to a product page or pricing page that users are deterred and abandon ship. If your search engine rankings are getting your business in front of people for the first time, then you need to be brand building with your own content, and creating content that builds trust over sales.

The sales will come, don’t be afraid to build a more comfortable journey for users to get there.

5. Run user-focused keyword research

Rather than blindly following the data that keyword research tools provide, Skale focuses on content that will actually deliver value for potential users at all stages of the funnel.

This may involve building comparison pages, programmatic templates, landing pages, capturing long-tail queries, and building out content based on the personas that you built during the user research phase of your strategy build.

The team at Skale is also able to leverage vast amounts of data housed in Google Search Console to get ‘real’ volume for topics that other SEO tools may not even acknowledge.

The search volume around these keywords is a key determining factor around your user personas’ search intent and the type of content that will prove useful to them. It’s important not to disregard low-volume keywords here, as even though they have a low search volume, they may be high-intent keywords.

Google search console product interface

Source

6. Build topical authority

In modern SEO, authority trumps relevancy almost every time. Using the information gathered from the user/keyword research phase, Skale can tackle topics in their entirety and develop a clear internal linking strategy to connect the dots.

Not only does this help increase your perceived topical authority in the eyes of search engines, but also that of users who may be in the awareness phase of their buyer journey.

What does building topical authority look like?

  • Winning quality backlinks from high authority domains
  • Getting brand name mentions in a title tag or meta description
  • Create entirely unique content and niche
  • Developing content silos or content clusters that support pillar content
  • Content marketing that speaks to your users
  • Answering search intent from the get-go

Of course, there’s a ton more to building topical authority, which will come from your off-page SEO strategy and PR tactics. However, we can’t give all of our secrets away!

SaaS content marketing guide

7. Prioritize your efforts & call in the cavalry

Whether for content creation or SEO implementation, now’s a good time to call for help. You have a few options here. You can outsource (Ahem… you know where to find us), or you can look to reign in the extra hands in-house.

One thing we will mention is that good talent is hard to find, and anyone with access to Google Analytics tends to think they’re an SEO master these days. So, if you’re going to bring a team in-house, give yourself time to hire and make that offer exceptional. You’re now competing in a global market for talent, and your offer needs to reflect that.

Depending on your business goals—especially if your business goals are answering to investors—align on the SEO strategy that will help you get there quickest. 

Once you’ve got that, decide whether you want to find a B2B SEO agency that can help out almost immediately or have the time to hire in-house. The choice is yours! 🥰

8. Keep measuring your SEO KPIs to improve your content strategy

Lastly, you’ll want to measure the success of your SEO-focussed landing pages, blog content, target keywords, the lot. 

Decide on what your KPIs are and keep track of them. Remember, like a fine wine, SEO needs time. Give it time, and don’t expect to see results in a month or even two. Give your strategy three months minimum before you start deciding on whether your bets were correct or not.

A few KPIs to consider are:

  • Revenue: overall performance
  • Non-branded vs. branded search: brand awareness growth & success
  • Organic traffic by content: identifying lead gen content opportunities
  • Conversion: identifying strengths & weaknesses
  • Keyword SERP ranking: measuring keyword strategy effectiveness

For more SaaS SEO KPIs and a breakdown of how you can track them. Check out this article: The 11 Most Valuable SaaS SEO KPIs According to SEO Experts.

SaaS SEO KPIs worth tracking

Key Takeaways for a stellar B2B SEO strategy

That’s your lot for building an SEO strategy that takes you from zero to hero in three months. Remember to stick to some of these actionable tips we’ve mentioned, and don’t disregard the steps listed that you wouldn’t typically associate with building an SEO strategy—they’re there for a reason!

Lastly, if you do decide you’re ready to call in an extra pair of hands on your SEO journey to success, you know where to find us. Learn more about Skale’s B2B SEO services.

B2B SEO FAQ

Why is B2B SEO important?

B2B SEO is exceptionally important as you need to tailor business content to multiple decision-makers within a company. This means building out multiple pillars that appeal to different searchers, their pain points, and jobs-to-be-done. You’re not convincing them to spend their own money; you’re convincing them to spend someone else’s, which often has an even tighter grip around it.

How is SEO different for B2B companies?

SEO for B2B companies is different for B2C as, in most cases, the spend on your business will be evaluated monthly, if not quarterly. You’ll need to encourage people to make a repeat purchase, not a one-off payment. It means winning someone over and keeping them on your side for the entire customer lifecycle.

How can I improve my B2B SEO?

You can improve your B2B SEO strategy by following the eight steps listed in this article. Some of these steps include: running a technical audit, conducting competitor research, behavior analysis, and user research. 

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